What is Absinthe?
According to Buy Absinthe Alcohol, “Absinthe is a spirit made out of various plant extracts, among which [is] ‘Artemisia Absinthium’ or common wormwood.”
What is Wormwood?
According to Absinthe Fever (also the source of the photo below), “Wormwood is a wild plant of the daisy family. Native to Europe, it can now be found in many other parts of the world, especially North America. Wormwood is a perennial plant that flowers year after year. It grows between 30 to 90 cm (12 to 36 in) tall and has small, yellowish flower heads.” The leaves of the wormwood plant are naturally rich in thujone. Wormwood oil typically contains over 40% thujone.
What is Thujone?
Thujone.info has comprehensive information on thujone.
“Thujone – pronounced ‘thoo-jone’ with a soft ‘J’ – is a naturally occurring substance, also found in the bark of the thuja, or white cedar, tree, and in other herbs besides wormwood – including tansy and the common sage used in cooking.”
A Little Absinthe History
The Wikipedia article on absinthe states:
“Absinthe originated in Switzerland. However, it is better known for its popularity as an alcoholic drink in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers.
Due in part to its association with bohemian culture, absinthe was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists. It was portrayed as a dangerously addictive, psychoactive drug. The chemical thujone, present in small quantities, was blamed for its alleged harmful effects.
By 1915 absinthe had been banned in most European nations and the United States. Although absinthe was vilified, no evidence has shown it to be any more dangerous than ordinary liquor. Its psychoactive properties have been much exaggerated.”
Is Absinthe Safe?
It is hypothesized that hallucinogens may have actually been mixed with absinthe to create the visions that led to such crazy things as Van Gogh cutting off his ear.
Buy Absinthe Alcohol breaks down the concern about thujone as as follows: “To begin feeling the effect of thujone as a narcotic, one would need to absorb 150mg or the equivalent of 15 bottles of spirit, as sold today. Even this dose isn’t really dangerous; a lethal amount of thujone, for an individual weighing 80kg (176 lb) would be 80g.”
In short, drinking absinthe won’t make you hallucinate any more than if you ate too many cupcakes.
Absinthe is Legal in the United States to Some Degree
The US outlawed buying and selling absinthe in 1912. To be more specific, they outlawed any absinthe that contained thujone. In 2007, the US allowed companies, like Lucid (a US absinthe maker), to sell absinthe so long as it contained less than 10 parts per million of thujone (essentially thujone free). To prove that absinthe has always been “thujone-free”, Lucid compared their bottles of absinthe to vintage bottles from the 1800s and the levels are nearly identical.
The details of the US law, however, are somewhat vague. I’ve read MANY sites on the subject and still can’t quite figure it all out. The Real Absinthe Blog is a great resource for anything absinthe related. Check out this post on absinthe in the US for more on what’s legal.
Summary: You will not be thrown in jail for making absinthe cupcakes. This is good, because there are no cupcakes in jail.
What Does Absinthe Taste Like?
Absinthe is a knock-you-over strong alcohol that is bursting with flavor. People say it tastes like licorice. However, that’s just a part of it. It also tastes earthy and spicy and incredibly complex.
If you choose to drink it rather than to bake with it, make sure you drink the absinthe correctly. Watch this video to learn how. Be sure to enjoy the bizarre horror movie soundtrack.
How a Cupcake Blogger Became Interested in Absinthe
I was recently contacted by Buy Absinthe Alcohol about doing a paid, unbiased review of their site.
1. Buy Absinthe Alcohol was the first company to ever contact me about doing a paid review of their site or product. They specifically asked me to review their website.
2. I don’t do website reviews. I bake cupcakes. I asked them if they would still be interested in actually paying me if I simply wrote about making absinthe cupcakes. Answer: Yes.
3. Many people don’t believe there is such a thing as an unbiased review if you are being paid. I see their point. It is your choice whether or not you want to trust me or buy a product I talk about. I do promise to always be honest in my writing. My mama taught me that honesty is the best policy. Groom 2.0 will even tell you that I take this too far. I’ve been known to have many a foot-in-mouth moment.
How Much Money Does a Blogger Make to Write About Something
Just in case anyone thinks I’m getting rich off of this, the money I got to write about the absinthe covered just enough to pay for the rest of the cupcake ingredients and a green fairy costume. You’ll see the costume in my next post.
Buy Absinthe Alcohol
To make absinthe cupcakes, you need some absinthe. Buy Absinthe Alcohol is a good place to buy it. Their FAQ states that for those in the US, true absinthe can only be bought online. This is NOT true. Absinthe is now available in the US, as noted above, and there are even several US absinthe companies. However, the amount of thujone in US vs European absinthe may vary (this is debatable).
The bottle of Absinthe I got from Buy Absinthe Alcohol is called Absente. I picked this one because the other two that they suggested to me were sold out. It seemed as good a reason as any. There are some US manufacturers that make a product by the same name that has no wormwood in it. This product is made from wormwood.
I bought a 10 cl bottle. I had no idea how big 10 cl was. Stupid American. I was expecting a wine bottle size. This bottle was about the size of two bottles of extract. 10 cl = .42 cup. It was enough for 12 cupcakes plus a little for tasting. Get the bigger-sized bottle if you want to have cupcakes and also have lots for drinking.
The Green Fairy
Absinthe is nicknamed the green fairy. This stems back to the thoughts that absinthe led to weird hallucinations. Also, absinthe is Mountain Dew green.
Check out the absinthe cupcake and me dressed as the green fairy!